Lake Michigan Loop Adventure

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My Lake Michigan Loop Adventure is a late spring/summertime exploration of the Great Lakes region. This adventure takes you almost completely around Lake Michigan, stopping at some exceptional locations. The crisp air and clear water will leave you refreshed, and the many activities available will give you a sense of adventure. The trip starts with a stop at The American Club, located just north of Milwaukee. This resort is stunning. For golf enthusiast, you will marvel at the views along the PGA Tour Whistling Straits Course as you try to emulate your favorite pro golfer. Even if you’re not into golf, the resort is a wonderful place to relax and explore. The next stop takes you to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. At this resort, you will step back in time and have a true vacation experience. A getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life (there are no cars on the island) and really embrace those you are traveling with. The next stop takes you to Michigan's playground. The Grand Traverse Resort is a beacon for summer time fun. Whether you want to zip along the lake on a jet ski or bike around the resort area, you will not be short on activities. The final stop of the trip takes you to Chicago. I lived in Chicago for a while and I think there's an amazing list of things to do here. The activity bundle (which includes several sites, such as the Shedd Aquarium) is included in the cost of this trip.

This is not a plan that I am selling, but a post to inspire you to explore different vacation options. With that being said, you can take this idea and adjust it to fit your needs, maybe by cutting nights or even destinations. I list the pricing after tax (except on some transport), and the prices are for July, during the peak travel time. The trip is calculated for a family of four, but I do list what a couple should expect at the bottom. So let's get started. Below are a couple maps of the trip and total cost:


Pricing Breakdown


When looking at the transportation costs of this plan, you'll be arriving in Milwaukee and departing from Chicago. I've set a higher budget for airfare, $400 per person, for a total of $1,600. As usual, if you have points accumulated, that would be a great way to reduce the cost of this trip. If you don't mind driving a little extra, you can always do a round trip flight to Chicago, and then you'll be doing the full loop around the lake.

As you can see above, the cost of the rental is about $461. The rate, I think, is extremely reasonable. You would rent the car from the Milwaukee airport and return it when arriving in Chicago. In other parts of the country renting a car for this amount of time could easily reach $700-$800, so at a fraction of the cost you have the freedom to explore the region. There's a portion of the trip where you'll be parking the car in the ferry lot (so you can take the ferry boat to the Grand.) There is a small fee for this, but considering the low cost of rental, I would recommend parking the car as opposed to returning it for those 2 nights.



Hotel Summary: This adventure features destination hotels, which is one hotel per location. Below is a brief overview of each:

The American Club
As mentioned above, the American Club is a destination for golf enthusiasts as well as those looking to relax. The resort is located in Kohler, WI and is consistently rated as one of the best hotels in the country.

The Grand Hotel
This gem is an excellent choice for people of all ages. Picture an island that is without cars, a place where you have to dress up each night and a place where you can take a carriage ride into the town, this is the Grand. You can read about the hotel in my post here. If you’re in the market for a wedding venue, then I would definitely consider The Grand Hotel, which you can explore the wedding options here.

The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
This is where you can let your hair down and embrace the more thrilling aspects of the region. Go water skiing on the lake, mountain bike through one of the trails or get your heart racing at the casino. If you want a more relaxed time at the Grand Traverse, you can head to the pool or hit the spa.

The Ritz Carlton
The Ritz in Chicago is a great choice to end the vacation. Embrace luxury in this classic option. The hotel is located in a prime spot along Michigan Ave (a block off), right near the Water Tower.

Itinerary and Activities

Above is an idea of what a possible itinerary would look like for this trip. Everything listed above is included in the price and covers all the activities that I have planned for the trip for four family members. So, again, if you see activities that don’t interest you, you could save money by skipping.

Food Budget

The food budget is a little lower than most trips, which is because the Grand Hotel includes breakfast and dinner in the hotel rate.


For couples, I've adjusted the amount spent on the flight, the activities, the food and the room rate. If you were to go, the prices would be similar to the chart below.

Thanks for stopping by and reading through my latest travel plan! If there's a region, or a trip, that you would want me to feature, just let me know!



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